West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue said the decision by household products leader Procter & Gamble to invest $500 million in a West Virginia manufacturing facility is testament to the strong, viable workforce and economic opportunities the state provides.
“Companies like Procter & Gamble have every reason to want to locate in West Virginia, despite what some lawmakers and other interest groups have been saying about our state,” Perdue said.
He said the announcement once again brings into question the need for legislation to enact a so-called Right-to-Work law and other measures that would negatively affect workers.
“Some have said such bills would eliminate road blocks that are keeping companies from locating in West Virginia, but clearly those road blocks don’t exist,” Perdue said. “In the name of ‘economic development,’ they are talking about rolling back a prevailing wage law that ensures fairness, training of a highly skilled workforce, and quality construction, and of enacting a Right-to-Work law that would needlessly weaken the employer-employee relationship by adding government interference.
“That simply doesn’t make sense.”
Procter & Gamble’s announcement comes on the heels of news that Diamond Electric has chosen to expand its operations in West Virginia.
“Diamond Electric made the decision to relocate its North American headquarters from Michigan, a state with a Right-to-Work law, to West Virginia,” Perdue noted.
He questioned why some legislative and interest group leaders repeatedly say certain businesses have chosen not to come to West Virginia because of Prevailing Wage and lack of a Right-to-Work provision, yet no one has specified which businesses.
“I would appreciate it if the folks who are saying businesses are choosing not to come to West Virginia would actually name these businesses,” he said. “I think that would help these discussions about West Virginia’s business climate.”
The plant, which will be Procter & Gamble’s first in West Virginia and only its second new site in the United States since 1971, will create over 1,000 construction jobs in its initial phase and employ about 700 full-time, highly skilled workers, the company stated in a press release.
“I congratulate Governor Tomblin, former House Speaker Tim Miley, former Senate President Jeff Kessler, and the residents of the Eastern Panhandle on this important development, which carries tremendous potential to benefit the entire state’s economy,” President Perdue said.